NEWS

A new hands-on science curriculum, co-developed by the University of Arizona and launching in three Southern Arizona high schools this fall, engages students in citizen science projects to measure air quality at various sites in and around Tucson. The Rising Vision curriculum — being piloted at Rincon and University high schools, as well as at Sierra Vista’s Center for Academic Success — has high school students measuring air quality at the Cooper Center, at their schools and at other sites in their communities, using sensors that visually detect airborne particulates

Associate Professor Jill Castek is the principal investigator on a new project supported by the National Science Foundation on how best to develop inclusive studio-based learning environments. Castek and Assistant Professor Blaine Smith will be collaborating across campus with Kevin Bonine, Jennifer Nichols, and Leslie Sult from UA Biosphere 2, and the UA Libraries, respectively. The University of Arizona team that also includes the STEM Learning Center, and the Office of Digital Learning, will be leading the way in the national conversation on designing innovation hubs for equity and inclusivity.

Have you been in a makerspace or an innovation hub? They are popping up in libraries, schools, and community spaces as places where you might experience 3D printers, coding tutorials, and even use older technology like sewing machines. More importantly, you will find people. People to teach you, learn from you, solve problems with you, and share each other's inspiration. You will likely find a community with common interests - a community that has the potential to cross income- and expertise-levels, age, race, and gender. We know that learning in these creative spaces and the digital environments they plug into can positively affect a person's relationship with skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). But, do we all feel invited to these spaces? Do all we thrive there? Can intentional design draw in the demographics that data show are systematically diverted from STEM career paths?

From February 25-28, 2019, Biosphere 2 will host a workshop for experts from academia, libraries, museums, and the like to gather, share, and discuss ideas. The broad national group will work through what type of learning takes place in these innovation spaces and identify barriers to access. The workshop outcomes will prescribe the pace and direction of how innovation spaces are designed. Importantly, the UA team will provide the National Science Foundation a summarized list of principles and assessments to anchor the future of digital learning in studio-based environments like makerspaces and suggest ways to facilitate community building specific to online learning.

More about this topic on mediashift.org

Jared Schultz, PhD, a noted leader in disabilities education and research, has joined the UA College of Education as a professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies and the UA Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities as the director of research. The Sonoran Center is housed within the UA Department of Family and Community Medicine, where Dr. Schultz also will have a joint appointment.  At the UA College of Education, Dr.

Associate Professor Jill Koyama is the new director of the Institute for LGBT Studies. In addition, she serves as the Faculty Fellow at the Women's Resource Center. "We were so impressed with Jill's record of collaborative leadership, community engagement and scholarship at the intersection of social inequities and educational policy," said Associate Vice President for Research R. Brooks Jeffery. "She will continue the Institute's legacy of supporting faculty to advance interdisciplinary LGBTQ research and broadening impact across communities at multiple levels."

Graduate student fellow Meshack Audu from New Mexico State University observes young students Easton, Ethan, and Rene as they experiment with the relationship between temperature and calories. By burning a walnut, students learned how to measure stored energy in plant sources. This was one of the labs in the recent 4-H summer camp, Biofuels Powering your World. Taught by educator Craig Bal, the summer camp was an education outreach piece of the Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions project, for which Assistant Dean Sara Chavarria is the education partner. Students presented their energy project on the final day. Craig was impressed with how quickly the students grasped the biofuel and energy vocabulary.  There is potential energy to be found in these young scientists, that is certain!

For more on this research project

Photo credit: Torran Anderson

Rising seniors at Cholla High School, Anyssa Montaño and Jessica Valdez are enjoying the UA Rec Center facilities as part of Upward Bound's summer programming. The week's academic focus is on math instruction and came with the perk of guest speakers in the fields of physics, chemistry, math, engineering, and higher education. After four weeks of academy, there will be a student showcase and a road trip to see Arizona colleges.
UA Upward Bound is a program that makes higher education a reality for the 60 students from Cholla and Pueblo high schools whom they serve. Key to this program are peer-mentoring, family involvement and, Saturday academies that offer cultural enrichment and college preparation activities. UA Upward Bound is run by director Arlett Perez and coordinator Maria Mata. Read more on this program and its objectives here.

By Lisa Burris for United Way: The woman behind the Legacy Projects has been leaving quite a legacy of her own, not just with United Way or Southern Arizona, but with early education as a whole here in the United States. Naomi Karp is a pillar here at United Way. Known for her lifetime of experience, extensive knowledge, huge heart and quick wit, Naomi is our Senior Director of Early Childhood Professional Development. She was born and raised in Tucson, the 3rd of 5 children for her parents, both local attorneys who set high standards for their children.

Mount Lemmon Sky Center was busy this June hosting middle and high school students kicking off an exciting new initiative called Project POEM (Project-Based Learning Opportunities and Exploration of Mentorship for Students with Visual Impairments in STEM). This million-dollar project funded by NSF provides hands-on learning over 14 months to VI students and fosters mentor/mentee relationships with UA students majoring in STEM areas. While STEM fields such as astronomy can be highly visual in nature, they shouldn’t be considered inaccessible to blind or low-vision students, says Sunggye Hong, associate professor in Disability and Psychoeducational Studies. Hong is collaborating with UA’s Planetary Sciences and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. The students will continue to participate in a science curriculum that uses 3-D modeling.
People with visual impairments continue to be highly underrepresented in STEM. “Not a lot of visually impaired students are choosing STEM as their potential career area,” Hong says. “We wanted to work together to come up with some motivational, inspirational, scientific projects that increase the motivation of kids who are blind or visually impaired toward STEM.”

This information came from azbigmedia.com, UA helps visually impaired ‘see’ science.

 

We know skilled teachers leave lasting impressions on their students, and for Jennifer Chee, her students did the same in turn for her- right on the fabric of her dress. Jennifer Chee, who was named 2018 Outstanding Student Teacher in Early Childhood, created unique, wearable art with the students she taught as a student-teacher at Gale Elementary and at Gentle Hands Center for Children. The early childhood program director, Donna Jurich, noted that Jennifer connected head and heart in her approach to build an inclusive classroom community using funds of knowledge. Congratulations, Jennifer on earning you degree with flying colors!

We are each affected by water supply issues. Scientists use immense datasets to develop computational models to explain what is happening and to develop solutions. To address these problems, the general public needs a level of environmental science literacy. This video on CompHydro is a submisstion to an annual video showcase, funded by NSF to improve STEM learning and teaching.